Annett ready for another Challenge
Jenn Annett feels pretty good as she joins a women’s pro field of 14 taking on Vally First Challenge Penticton in 12 days.
Annett, who finished third last year in her pro debut, said the last couple weeks leading up is always a bit rough. As the race nears, Annett, who trains on her own, will taper off with hopes that her body bounces back.
“I’m not trying to put too much pressure on myself,” said Annett, who will be competing alongside returning champion Carrie Lester and second-place finisher Karen Thibodeau. “It’s all gonna be on how the day unfolds. I’ve had a pretty good season so far.”
Annett has won the Penticton Indoor Triathlon, Peach Classic Triathlon, Kelowna’s Cherry Blossom and the Oliver Half Iron. She also finished second in the Barebones Duathlon and competed in Stony Plain’s The Great White North triathlon, where she placed third.
What she enjoys about taking on the 3.8-kilometer swim, 180-km bike ride and 42.2-km run is performing well, which becomes a key motivator, as well as being able to do something.
“I think just seeing how far you can push your body,” said Annett, 29, considers herself a stubborn competitor and perfectionist. “It’s amazing what your body can do if you put your mind to it. There is definitely a mental part of this sport. Without the right drive, it will be a tough course.”
Another key to her competing in triathlons is it helps with her epilepsy. Annett began experiencing seizures in 2010 as a result of being struck by a vehicle while cycling a week before going to the 2008 world championship in Kona. The vehicle cut her off and her helmet shattered. Doctors could not say that her being struck by a car was the cause of her seizures, which she never experienced before.
“It seems that exercise helps with my seizures,” said Annett, who still competed in that 2008 world championship. “That’s kind of a motivator too.”
Annett has been competing in triathlons nice 2008 and said she feels like she needs to.
“It has been a roller coaster since then,” said Annett, a former physio assistant, who now works at the Royal Bank of Canada. “There are things that happen in your life that you have no control over. It’s up to yourself to pick yourself up and get over it, move on. I’m definitely not letting it basically control my life.”
Growing up in Kelowna, Annett had never heard of Ironman until moving to Penticton in 2005. Her husband Jason encouraged her to check out the race.
“I was like completely emotional watching these people,” she said. “I don’t even know anybody and I feel like I’m going to ball my eyes out. This is so incredible.”
Jason and two-year-old son Nixon are her big supporters, including her parents, in-laws and friends.
“I wouldn’t be doing this without the support of my family,” said Annett, who enjoys doing anything outdoors with her family. “I work full time and I’m a mom. To fit training in without family support wouldn’t work.”
They also act as her cheering crowd as they follow her on the bike course.
At the end of the day, it’s about getting to the finish line and celebrating with family. And one other thing she will enjoy once she has reached there.
“The beer at the finish line,” she laughed. “I guess the most rewarding part is just seeing all your hard work and dedication over the last few months unfold.”